Your resume should show what you know

July 12, 2014 

A mid-level manager with hiring responsibilities at a Kansas City company called me in frustration. "Luke" had just read 84 resumés and was disappointed.

He doesn't have official public relations duties, so he asked that his name and company not be revealed. But his complaints are valid and common.

There were two big problems with Luke's pile of applications. The first: Many applicants clearly weren't qualified for the job.

"It was apparent they were just pushing buttons, and they were wasting their time and mine," Luke said.

The second problem was with the applicants who may have been qualified. But Luke said he simply couldn't tell.

"They say they have the abilities or the experience for the job, but nothing specifically listed on their resumés backs that up," he said.

"Their reported work history doesn't make it apparent."

Job hunters sometimes forget that everyone won't understand industry or job jargon or abbreviations.

They forget that not everyone uses the same job titles to describe work or responsibility levels.

It's imperative that job hunters describe exactly what they did.

And, sometimes, the job hunter should explain how former experience and skills are transferrable to the job at hand. Don't count on the hirer to figure it out.

Luke said job hunters who are making career changes need to be especially careful to show why they're qualified if their work history doesn't indicate relevant experience. Perhaps they've gone back to school while working and obtained new professional training or certifications that are applicable. Tell about it.

Happily, Luke said that when he pursues background checks on possible candidates he's not finding outright lies. That's a good thing if it marks a truthfulness trend.

Maybe serious job hunters now know they'll be investigated by serious hirers.

Diane Stafford, Kansas City Star workplace reporter, can be reached at stafford@kcstar.com. Follow her online at kansascity.com/workplace and on Twitter@kcstarstafford.

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